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Except he began calling me late at night, calls that were mostly filled with the staticky hiss of the phone as he tried to figure out what to say. If I, as one of his good friends, worried constantly about his mental health, I couldn't imagine how she was able to handle the pressure. They broke up in the spring of his senior year in high school, and Thomas and I began dating as soon as I came home for the summer.
That summer was idyllic, mostly because I was leaving for a semester in Spain at the end of August and we wanted to savor the time we had together. He was finally taking medication and had gone to a therapist a few times.
When I found out that Thomas was in danger of failing the semester, I brought down an ultimatum: see a therapist, or we couldn’t be together. “Has your new therapist told you what to do when you panic? I skipped my meetings.”And then he said we were done, and that was it.* * *Dating someone with depression means watching him slip farther and farther away while feeling powerless to stop it.
Hunching over a cup of cold tea, waiting for him to call and tell you he’s OK, and knowing that he’s not capable of that kind of communication.
Together, we acted in nearly every production our school’s drama club put on, from The Man Who Came to Dinner to Richard III.
Our friendship was cemented when we were cast as Lysander and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s madcap romp about fairies, Athenians, and mismatched couples.
He drove all the way to JFK Airport from Virginia to pick me up, and kissed me even though I was a sweaty, crumpled wreck. But he had become a Hamlet, not a spontaneous and loving Lysander. And that is the ultimate challenge of loving someone with depression: not losing yourself in the vacuum of that person’s emotions. Ford your own sea of troubles on a slipshod raft made of wineglasses and new shoes, poetry books and pizza boxes.
When we broke up, he told me, “I hope you’ll understand why I’m doing this someday.” Initially, I was furious at him for not caring enough to try harder, but as my acid reflux and headaches disappeared, I began to understand.* * *My advice to anyone who is experiencing something similar is short, but I mean it. Go out with strangers, just to make new friends, and stay in with old friends who will kiss your cheek and help you cry. A raft you write into being, a raft you eventually take out and show to others.College Student Breaks Up with Boyfriend, Few Care. However, if I have learned anything from writing, it is that no (wo)man is an island.Articulating your experiences and having someone else respond with yes, I get it, I know what you mean is a type of catharsis that few other things in the world can offer.Trying to force terrible bargains, like saying you won’t go to class unless he calls a counselor.Wondering every day whether he’s taking his medication.I, at least, will be there to say yes, I get it, I know what you mean. B.: This article was written with Thomas' full permission.